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Vertical Stabiliser Priming

There are many different ways to prime, and I found deciding which way to go hard. So many different opinions and reasoned arguments. I was very tempted by the “water borne” primers for obvious health benefits, but even they need a good mask. Having made the decision to buy a good mask etc, in the end I went for a classic Acid Etch Primer LAS 4853 which is a tried and tested solution. This is quick drying and light. However it definitely requires a good mask and skin protection, so as I mentioned in a previous post about the compressor, I went for an air-fed mask.  A chat to an aviation paint professional and fellow RV7 builder also highlighted the fact that the Etch Primer is even more effective if sealed with another product, so I decided to cover the Etch Primer with a light coat of Lechler Acryl 1K. I chose white, so in later years when peering inside the structure with a torch things might be more visible.

Before any spraying, I lightly scuffed the parts with maroon Scotchbrite and then degreased with acetone wearing disposable gloves. Decided to wear a 3M Organic Mask for this, because although the smell is quite nice I reckon it’s probably doing you no good at all!

Etch Primer


First go with protective suit, gloves and mask. Rapidly found out you need to get everything prepared prior to suiting up, much easier! Experimenting with the spray gun, not really sure how much to put on. Might have overdone it a bit I think, will put on a lighter topcoat next time.


White Coat


Didn’t have to wait very long for the Etch Primer to thoroughly dry, then went for the white. Quite pleased, even cleaning the gun wasn’t that arduous with cellulose thinners.


3 comments on Vertical Stabiliser Priming
  1. Matthew S Whiting

    How do you keep like similar parts (series of ribs for example) identified while priming so that they get back into the same location where they were drilled? I am just starting an S-21 kit and am looking for clever ideas to ID parts that will survive priming.

    Keeping things in position is OK, until the inevitable bumped things off the table event happens. I was considering using a center punch to light punch the rib web with a series of very smalL dimples to show the location on the spar where the rib was match drilled, but I am not sure how smart that is

    Looking for any creative ideas..

    1. Steve

      Hi Matthew … I have done this by marking the items with a permanent blue sharpie pen. I find that the blue marks show through the primer I am using. I choose areas which are going to be hidden by the construction, so that there are not lots of marks visible after the build.
      I’ve been reluctant to mark by any form of distortion.

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